DEGREES OF FREEDOM: Varying Routes to Math Readiness and the Challenge of Intersegmental AlignmentMay 6th, 2015
“After nearly 10 years of investment in improving remedial math success, the initiatives with perhaps the most promise are also the most controversial.”
DEGREES OF FREEDOM:
Varying Routes to Math Readiness and the Challenge of Intersegmental Alignment
Experiments in community colleges to create math readiness sequences prioritizing statistics and quantitative reasoning, subjects thought to better serve the 80 percent of community college students pursuing non-technical fields, are showing impressive early results, increasing success rates for students who require remedial math courses. The new curricular sequences, intended to make students’ math training more relevant to their course of study and more conducive to deeper learning, are prompting some four-year universities to re-think their requirements for students transferring from community colleges.
But these experiments remain controversial among some mathematicians, who favor the traditional algebra-intensive math sequence. They are also out of step with the curriculum that high schools are newly implementing in connection with the Common Core State Standards, which also prioritizes two years of algebra. And, they have run afoul of some universities’ requirements for students seeking to transfer from two-year colleges, leaving community colleges wary of offering them to their students.
A new report, DEGREES OF FREEDOM: Varying Routes to Math Readiness and the Challenge of Intersegmental Alignment, sheds new light on the alternative pathways and obstacles to their implementation. The report recommends that colleges and universities collect evidence on the success of the new sequences, and base their policies on that evidence, rather than prematurely curtail them.
DEGREES OF FREEDOM: Varying Routes to Math Readiness and the Challenge of Intersegmental Alignment is the second in a series of three reports examining college math requirements in California and nationally. The reports were written by higher education policy analyst Pamela Burdman and co-published by LearningWorks and Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE).